DEATH TRIP
Pain Is Pain: The Complete Death Trip 1988-1994 CD
(Ektro/Karkia Mistika Records) (ektro-069/karmi-033)

"Wake up! Time to die!"-- Leon, Bladerunner, 1982.

At the twilight of the 1980s, several members of Terveet
Kädet—Finland's first and fieriest hardcore-punk export—decided to get
back to basics. With their mother ship exploring increasingly metallic
terrain, the guys invented Death Trip as a decelerated means of
unleashing their collective id. Stripping simplistic but hypnotic
riffs from crude noise rock and garage grime, the band tapped into a
dank, primal, and trashy force over the course of three seven-inch
singles released by the hallowed indie Bad Vugum Records (1989's
"Death Trip" b/w "We're Gonna Die Tonight"; 1990's "Chainsaw Goddess"
b/w "Deep Red"; and 1995's "Please! Skin Me Alive" b/w "Something").

The quartet's methodology is rather straightforward: flat, sustained
ugliness with zero crescendos, resolutions or payoff. But Death Trip
isn't about relentless evil and angst. As a useful reminder that
there's a point to this punishment, the antagonistic yet rollicking
spirit that fueled the Cramps and the Stooges often surfaces from the
ritualistic murk. A splatter-flick sense of humor pervades Veli-Matti
"Läjä" Äijälä's gonzo howls, muffled grunts, and distant cries, and
performances featuring bondage masks, meat cleavers, and flasher's
raincoats further blur the line between creepiness and kitsch.

Compiling the above-mentioned songs with a wad of rare concert and
demo material, Pain Is Pain thoughtfully chronicles Death Trip’s
shadowy career. If you dig the antisocial numbness of Sweden's
Brainbombs or the stranger side of America's Amphetamine Reptile
label, you'll definitely want to join Äijälä and friends on their
historic journey down Route 666. Youngsters weaned on crust, doom, and
stoner sounds will also hail the hammering of this final nail in the
ensemble’s coffin.

In addition, Death Trip’s minimalist repetition and ghoulish
iconography have substantially impacted the Nordic underground, most
notably influencing the music and imagery of the world-famous and
mesmerizing Circle. That group's main man, Ektro boss Jussi Lehtisalo,
and its erstwhile guitarist, Karkia Mistika chief Jyrki Laiho,
actually went so far as to commission the very album you’re holding in
your paws.

But forget all that crap. Even if you're deaf, dumb, and blind, Death
Trip's unyielding monster mash is a glorious and groovy experience.
Because really, no matter how you slice it, everybody loves a good
scare.

Jordan N. Mamone, New York City
December 2, 2011



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